LYNN — The Neal Rantoul Vault Theatre inside of the Lynn Arts building was filled with laughter from an energized crowd Thursday night during “Stand up Stick up,” a comedy show hosted by the Lynn Music Foundation and video producer Steven Foley.
The show kicked off around 9 p.m. and featured five comedians who perform around the Boston area: Jamie Aird, who served as the host for the evening, Nestor Matute, Kristina Feliciano, Ryan Ellington, and headliner Mo Mussa.
Foley, born and raised in Lynn, came up with the idea to host a comedy show in the theater when thinking about the importance of bringing nightlife events to the city.
“We want it to be a great fit for the community,” said Foley. “Ideally it could in the future become a great space for comics to work out and do shows and just have another venue as well as a great gift to the community of Lynn to have another thing to do at night, which is clearly something that’s lacking.”
Foley and Executive Director of Lynn Arts Edwin Cabrera pondered the idea of hosting a comedy show, but with Lynn Arts booked with events and other projects, it was mostly up to Foley to put the show together.
He reached out to Aird to ask if he and other comedians would be interested in performing. Foley said they loved the idea. Each comedian was fascinated with the theater, a small, dim box sheared off from the rest of the building by only a curtain. An open vault tucked around the corner of the stage serves as the remnants of a building that was a part of the Historical Bank Block in downtown Lynn, which is how the theater got its heist-inspired name.
“When Steve reached out and showed me the venue and he showed me they were doing Hip-Hop stuff and a lot of musical stuff and they wanted to bring in comedy, I was like, especially looking at the aesthetic of the place, ‘This is dope, I want to do this,’” said Aird.
For Matute, this was his first time in Lynn, and like Aird, he was enamored with the theater and excited to be a part of the first comedians to pave the way for more shows in the future. Matute was the first comedian to perform.
“I’ve never been to Lynn before and I was excited to hear about this show and I walked in here and said ‘wait, this is a cool theater,’” Matute said. “I’m very excited to be the first comic to break this place down a little bit.”
With Lynn’s first ever Art Battle taking place in the theater last week and the stand-up show, Foley is happy that the space is being utilized, saying the room had been “in limbo” for a while. He was pleased with the turnout of the show and hopes to eventually have a weekly comedy show with a rotation of different comedians that will help attract people to come spend a night in the city.
“Hopefully this can become a recurring thing,” Foley said. “We’re looking at a decent turnout tonight so we’re very glad about that. We’re hoping we can use this as a jumping-off point to try to put on future programming.”